Frequent Periods Or Polymenorrhea
Frequent periods or polymenorrhea might be frustrating and cumbersome to handle.However, it is hardly a symptom of a terrible disease as many woman often think it is.
The Normal Period Length
The average length of the cycle is 28 days and this is the length often used in textbooks. Normal menstrual cycle length can be anyway from 21 to 35 days. If your cycle length is within this range, and that is what you have every month, then that is what is normal for you.
If your cycle is 21 days, then in 365days of the year, you will have about 17 periods ( 365/21=17). Similarly, if your cycle is 35 days, you will have 10 periods in a year( 365/35= 10). We therefore expect that women with normal cycle length between 21 to 35 days should have 10 to 17 periods a year.
If your cycle length is less than 21 days, you will have periods more than the normal number of periods a year. A woman with a cycle length of 17 days will have 21 periods ( 365/17=21). Therefore by definition, periods occur frequently when they occur at an interval less than 21 days. The medical name is polymenorrhea, meaning many( poly-) menstrual cycles.
The opposite scenario occurs when there are fewer than the expected number of periods in a year. Those with cycles more than 35 days will have less than 13 periods in a year.This is called oligomenorrhea.
Causes Of Polymenorrhea
The causes of polymenorrhea overlap with many of the causes of abnormal uterine bleeding or those of irregular periods. Common, simple causes include stress, excessive exercise, medications or perimenopause. More serious causes include diseases of the pelvic organs especially those with hormonal disturbances like polycystic ovarian disease.
Two causes worth mentioning are
- Dysfuncitonal uterine bleeding. This occurs during the extremes of the years of menstruation, that is menarche and menopause because of hormonal changes.
- Short luteal phase. This occurs when the luteal phase is abnormally short and leads to menses occurring fasting than it should. Read more on the luteal phase defect.
There is no specific treatment directed at increasing the cycle length to stop polymenorrhea. The main treatment is correcting the underlying condition whenever possible. Treatment should not be attempted at home without proper medical evaluation to know the precise underlying cause
Some specific cause-directed therapies include oral contraceptive pills, medication adjustments, lifestyle changes such as exercise reduction, stress management, proper weight and others.
Review the potential causes of irregular periods.
If you are not what next to do, Ask Doc!
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